Magazine article Gramophone

Janacek: 'Rikadla'

Magazine article Gramophone

Janacek: 'Rikadla'

Article excerpt

Janacek 'Rikadla' The Wild Duck. Our Birch Tree. Elegy on the Death of My Daughter Olga. 1.X.1905 (arr Leeuw). Halfar the Schoolmaster. The Wolf's Trail. The Wandering Madman. Concertino. Nursery Rhymes Collegium Vocale Gent: Het Collectief / Reinbert de Leeuw Alpha [F] ALPHA219 (69' * DDD * T/t)

Much of Janacek's music suggests quick reflexes prodded into spontaneous activity, as in such a work as The Wolfs Tale for soprano solo, female chorus and piano, composed in 1916 and clearly prophetic of the Glagolitic Mass of a decade or so later. Reinbert de Leeuw and Collegium Vocale Gent are masters of tonal shading: whether attending to top or to internal lines they achieve a near-on three-dimensional effect, in the earlier choral pieces and the 19 tangy miniatures that make up Rikadla ('Nursery Rhymes', 1926), some of them merely seconds long. The jaunty introduction, with its spiky instrumental writing (an approximate cross between Stravinsky's Les noces, which preceded it, and Martinu's Bouquet of Flowers, which came later), complete with drum, sets the scene but offers hardly a clue to the enormous expressive range of this delightful sequence. …

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